Our judging panel features some of the leading conservation figures working in Africa today. They are all experts in their fields, with a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities of African conservationists

The judges of the 2023 Tusk Conservation Awards. (LtoR) Nigel Winser, Susan Canney, Maxwell Gomera, Amy Dickman, Mary Rice, Ali Kaka, Beatrice W. Karanja, Charlie Mayhew. © Sarah Watson Tusk Trust

The judges of the 2023 Tusk Conservation Awards. (LtoR) Nigel Winser, Susan Canney, Maxwell Gomera, Amy Dickman, Mary Rice, Ali Kaka, Beatrice W. Karanja, Charlie Mayhew.

Dr Susan Canney

Susan Canney is the Director of the Mali Elephant Project, having worked on a variety of nature conservation projects across Africa, Asia, and Europe

She also worked as a research officer for the UK Government’s independent adviser on sustainable development at the Green College Centre for Environmental Policy & Understanding.

Her chief interest is how to bring ecological literacy to human decision-making so that our actions are guided by the right relationship to the planet. As a result, her work involves using systems perspectives and collaborative approaches to understand the human-nature relationship and find sustainable solutions to the co-existence thereof.

She is a Research Associate of the Department of Zoology, Oxford University, a Trustee of Tusk, a member of the Sahara Conservation Fund’s Science Committee, a member of the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group, and has co-authored a book on “Conservation” for Cambridge University Press.

Amy Dickman

Amy Dickman is a Professor of Wildlife Conservation at Oxford University and Director of the university’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit. She has worked in conservation for over 25 years, with a particular focus on understanding and improving human-wildlife coexistence, especially in East Africa. She is the Joint CEO of Lion Landscapes, which develops effective community-based conservation initiatives in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, and beyond. She is also Chair of the Board of the Arabian Leopard Fund.

Amy is on the IUCN’s Cat Specialist Group, Human-Wildlife Conflict Specialist Group, and Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group. She has published over 100 scientific papers and book chapters on conservation and is an award-winning conservationist, including being a finalist for the Tusk Conservation Award.

As a mother of two young children, she is also passionate about the role of women in science, and empowering others to be as effective and happy as they can be in conservation.

Cathy Dreyer TCA24 judge

Cathy Dreyer

Cathy Dreyer is the Head Ranger for Ranger Services at Kruger National Park. Cathy started her conservation career in Addo Elephant National Park with SANParks in 1999 before joining SANParks Veterinary Wildlife Services Unit, conducting wildlife captures and translocations throughout South Africa and Africa for 12 years. In 2012 she joined Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency as the Conservation Manager at Great Fish River Nature Reserve and was responsible for the management and law enforcement of one of the key black rhino populations in South Africa.

She returned to SANParks in 2017 as the Black Rhino Surveillance & Monitoring Coordinator for Kruger National Park and worked in the Parks Intensive Protection Zone or IPZ. She coordinated and participated in the implementation of aerial surveillance; and was also instrumental in drawing up protection strategies and patrol tactics aimed at protecting black rhino in the KNP.

Cathy left Kruger in 2019 to take up the position of Conservation Manager at Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape and was responsible for both terrestrial and marine areas. This included the conservation, monitoring and law enforcement programme for the Parks population of Black Rhino. She returned to Kruger National Park in May 2021 to take up the position as Head Ranger.

Cathy was awarded the Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa in 2016, presented by Sir David Attenborough. The Tusk Conservation Award is given to an individual who has been judged to be an emerging leader in conservation in Africa and in recognition of their outstanding contribution and considerable successes in their chosen field. She was the first South African recipient of the award the first female to have won it.

Maxwell Gomera

Maxwell Gomera is the director of the Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services Branch of the United Nations Environment Program. Maxwell is a resource economist with extensive experience in nature conservation, agricultural development, commercialization of natural products, and people and nature issues.
As part of his studies, Maxwell developed bioeconomic models for the management of elephants. He has worked extensively with governments and corporates from across the world. Max was part of the UN Environment team that developed a “Global Green New Deal” for reviving the global economy and boosting employment while simultaneously accelerating the fight against climate change, environmental degradation, and poverty – in response to the financial and economic crisis of 2008.
Max writes for many mainstream newspapers and media – and is widely published. He sits on many Boards and has worked extensively with institutions globally on a range of issues, including tourism development, human rights and wildlife management.

Beatrice Karanja

Beatrice W. Karanja

Beatrice is a conservation philanthropist and a communications specialist with over 25 years of experience covering the African continent as both as journalist for BBC and Reuters and as a communications professional with UNICEF, Oxfam, and the African Wildlife Foundation.

As a PR professional at Portland Communications, she had the opportunity to consult for Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Kofi Annan Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With roots in Kenya and Uganda, Beatrice continually strives to build strong partnerships that address the balance between Africa’s development and its conservation priorities.

Beatrice is a Board representative of Mara Elephant Project (Chair). She also sits on the board of Tusk and is one of the inaugural board members of Natural State. She holds a BA in Communications, from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, USA and currently undertaking a Post Graduate Diploma at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Charlie Mayhew OBE

Charlie Mayhew began his working life in 1981 as a Marine Insurance Broker at Lloyds of London with Dumas Ltd. In 1984 he persuaded Willis Faber to sponsor him to organize a major expedition across Africa as part of the UN’s International Year of Youth. After 18 months of planning, the 33-strong team led by Charlie departed London for Africa.

Upon his return, he was elected a Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society and made a member of the Scientific Exploration Society.  In 1990 Charlie co-founded Tusk Trust with the actor Timothy Ackroyd. They co-produced the feature film ‘Lost in Africa’, a drama highlighting the horrors of the ivory trade. In 2002, Charlie stepped down as a Trustee to become Tusk’s first Chief Executive. In recognition of his services to conservation in Africa, Charlie was awarded an OBE by His Majesty The King in June 2023.

Mary Rice

Mary Rice

Mary Rice is the Executive Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) in the UK. EIA investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes and abuses.
Trained as a journalist, Mary spent 15 years working in Asia before moving to London and into the environmental sector. With more than two decades of experience in this field, Mary has extensive knowledge of the illegal international trade in wildlife, specifically ivory. The findings of EIA’s global investigations into the illegal trade in ivory played a key role in establishing the international ivory ban in 1989.
Mary is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a published author and photographer. Heat, Dust and Dreams (Struik) was the result of three years of research and photography in what is now known as the Kunene region, home to the last viable population of black rhino outside a protected area.

Dr Arthur Tuda

Dr Arthur Tuda

WIO Arthur Tuda is a marine and coastal management expert with over 25 years of experience managing marine protected areas (MPAs) and coastal areas. He spent 20 years working with the Kenya Wildlife Service on marine and coastal conservation. Arthur is currently the Executive Director of the Western Indian Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), a regional science organization dedicated to science-based management of the western Indian Ocean. 🌊

Arthur has worked in a variety of fields, including fisheries, marine and coastal management, marine spatial planning, and policy. He has contributed to science through his numerous publications on marine protected area management and governance in the WIO. His research focus is on ocean governance and marine protected areas.

In the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), Arthur has made significant contributions to marine conservation by assisting MPAs in developing adaptive co-management systems and improving management effectiveness. He has been instrumental in the development of numerous tools to support management of MPAs and Locally Managed Marine Areas in the WIO region, including the MPA toolkit and the LMMA guidebook for Kenya and Tanzania. He has received numerous awards for his leadership in marine conservation, including certification as a level 3 MPA-Pro. He is the founder and leader of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Area Practitioners Network (WIOMPAN), which brings together marine conservation managers to help manage the region’s network of MPAs.

Arthur holds a PhD in Marine and Coastal Management.